This testimony was found on a message board. All rights go to the original author known as Tesserac
I am so sorry
I was in Peninsula Village in the late 90s, for depression, mostly. I was one of the ones who climbed the level system by persistently "confronting" other kids for breaking the rules. I want to say how much I regret doing that. I participated in something terrible because I believed them when they said this was how we could help each other. I did it because time there was hard and I wanted to make mine easier. I did it because I thought that if I did, they would let me out sooner. It didn't work. They kept me for 16 months.
When I first arrived at the Village, I had the same reaction that everyone else did: You can't do this to me, this is abuse, if the cops don't step in, my parents will. They laughed and pointed out that the program had existed for a decade, several false accusations of abuse had been made, and the police never found anything. They said if the police were going to shut them down, they would have done so by now. Still I believed the cops would come. But weeks, then months came by, and they never did. Then I believed my parents would take me out, once I could finally see them and explain what it was like. But they had prepared my parents for that family session for weeks. They knew I would appeal to them to take me home, that I would say things like "If you really loved me, you would take me out of here." They explained that these kinds of statements were a manipulative attempt to prey on my parent's affection, and if they wanted to do what was right for me, they would keep me there. My parents believed them.
I'm saying this not as an excuse, but because I want to explain what I was thinking at the time. I simply could not believe that both the authorities and my parents would allow my placement in an abusive facility. The reality was incompatible with a teenager's naivete. So instead, I reversed my position and decided the Village could not be abusive at all. I tried as hard as I could to succeed in the program, and that meant watching the kids in my group for any kind of infraction I could confront them over later. The rules were so extreme, it wasn't hard to find infractions. Glancing upwards while someone else is being restrained. Taking 1 minute 36 seconds to go to the bathroom instead of 1 minute 30. if I couldn't find any infractions, I'd confront people over intangibles, like "being entitled" or "ignoring the focus". And sometimes I'd flat out make things up. I don't have the words to express how terrible I feel about that.
Ironically, none of my persistent ass-kissing seemed to do any good. I wanted so badly to be out, and could not understand why they kept me so long even though I was doing everything they said. They would grant various privileges for cooperating, then strip them away for reasons I didn't even understand. "Not confronting your issues." I was trying as hard as I could to confront my issues! Hell, I even made up some issues I didn't have, just to be able to confront more things. Based on the stories on this forum, it was not uncommon for them to keep those who could afford it as long as they could. I don't think it will surprise anyone when I say my parents were paying out of pocket.
The worst part is that when I got out, I continued to buy into their shit for the next 15 years. I can't believe what a colossal fool I was. I can't believe how blind I've been. I can't believe any of it, really. I still wobble back and forth between "it wasn't that bad" and "jesus christ, how could this have ever happened".
I just want to say again how very sorry I am for the harm I did to the other kids while I was there. I really wish there was some way I could make amends.
Peninsula Village has been sold and renamed to The Village under a new management and maybe a new program structure.
I am so sorry (The original testimony)